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Most Local Governments View Environment and Energy as Priorities, but Few Act
February 23 A national survey on sustainability sent to local governments throughout the U.S. finds that many consider the environment and energy conservation priorities, but few take specific actions as a result.
The study was developed by a group of educational and environmental organizations including the International City/County Management Assn. (ICMA) Center for Sustainable Communities, the Center for Urban Innovation, Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability, the Alliance for Innovation and others.
Among the survey findings:
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- 70% of respondents called “energy conservation” a priority (46%) or a high priority (24%).
- 62% of local government respondents called “the environment” a priority or high priority.
- Only 29% of respondents have adopted a resolution outlining specific policy goals
- However, 28% have established a task force to deal with issues of sustainability, 27% have assigned a dedicated staff to such efforts, 19% have established a benchmark relating to sustainability, and 16% have provided a budget for their efforts.
- 45% have a plan for tree planting and preservation, but only 14% have established greenhouse gas limits for local government, 10% for the community at large and 3% for local businesses.
- 63% of localities have conducted energy audits of government buildings, 56% have upgraded or retrofitted office lighting, 44% have increased the number of fuel efficient government vehicles.
- 34% of localities have taken actions to conserve the amount of water from aquifers, 33% have adopted price structures to encourage conservation and 30% have set limits on impervious surfaces on private property.